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Over the last two-decades, BMW has given us quite a few “Z” cars. There was the chic Z3 that James Bond helped unveil in the movie “Golden Eye,” followed by the sinfully pretty Z8 (also used in a Bond flick; The World Is Not Enough), which was penned by Henrik Fisker (yes, the same guy who went on to design some Aston Martin‘s and then started his own car company).
More recently, we have seen two-generations of the Z4 model, and while there was a Z9 concept car, when it eventually went into production, it became the 6-series.
In North America, very few know about the car that started the whole “Z”-line of cars at BMW. The very first model to wear this alphabet was appropriately called the Z1.
Like all the “Z” cars that went into production, the Z1 is a front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car. Unlike all other “Z” cars (or any other production car for that matter), the Z1 had doors that would drop down into the sills. Yes, getting in and out is a bit more challenging than usual due to the high sills, but it is worth it for the reaction it causes in public. Plus you can park in a tight spot and not worry about being able to swing open the door. The doors would move up and down via an electric motor, so no muscle power is needed.
Speaking of muscle, the Z1 was powered by the familiar 2.5-liter, straight-six cylinder engine, that can be found in other BMW models. This engine produces just 168-hp and 161 lb/ft of torque, which is not a lot for a car that weighs 3200-lbs. Power was fed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. According to BMW, this sleek roadster took 9.0-seconds to accelerate from 0-62 mph, and would top out at 137 mph. Not slow, but not nearly as fast as it looks.
During its two-year production run from March 1989 to June 1991, BMW made just 8000 examples of the Z1, well short of their target of producing 35,000 copies initially.
Nowadays, the Z1 is considered to be a rare, modern classic, and finding one for sale in North America (a market where it was never officially sold) is extremely difficult.
But we have found a clean example sitting in Calgary, AB., Canada. This black on grey and charcoal example has covered about 20,600-miles. The seller has not provided much else information, and has mentioned a wrong engine size in the ad. The asking price is CAN$29,999, which equals to $29,400 in our currency at today’s exchange rate.
So if you’ve always wanted a Z1, or just want a car with disappearing doors, you can check out the ad yourself in the source link below.
Most people would agree that the current BMW M3 with its rorty V8 motor sounds pretty good, but that doesn’t mean it could not be improved upon.
Now, BMW’s M-division has now created a new performance exhaust for the M3, which not only sounds better, but is also lighter than the standard exhaust system because it is made from Inconel – the same substance used for F1 race car exhausts. This system is 20% lighter than the standard exhaust, and since it has a free-flow setup the engine sounds even better than it already does.
It’s not a cheap upgrade though. This new exhaust will cost $4,374 and that doesn’t include installation.
However, what if you can’t afford an M3 right now? Not to worry, BMW is offering this incredible sound as a ringtone through the following link: bmwusa.com/news.
Check out video of the exhaust after the jump:
BMW has made it clear that it is working hard to deliver performance as well as fuel economy, doing away with larger displacement motors wherever possible and introducing turbocharged smaller-displacement powerplants that produce as much (or more) power.
While BMW has been able to give impressive performance to sporty models like the 135 and 335 by using the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six, the entry-level 1- and 3-Series models do with naturally aspirated motors.
BMW is rumored to be changing this with a new line of turbocharged 1.35-liter 3-cylinder and turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engines, as an integral part of the Efficient Dynamics initiative. The new engines would also be used in the rumored Z2 sportscar.
Three different versions of the turbo-three would be offered with 163, 201 and 241 horsepower, respectively. As for the turbo-fours, there would be just two with either 273hp or 321hp.
As is often the case, many of these new engines would not be available in North American models. However, some of the larger versions would.
There is no word on how much fuel economy would be improved.
Here’s a full list of the specs for each model:
x16i – 1.35-litre, 3-cylinder, 163bhp/140 lb-ft
x18i – 1.35-litre, 3-cylinder, 201bhp/162 lb-ft
x20i – 1.35-litre, 3-cylinder, 241bhp/192 lb-ft
x23i – 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder, 273bhp/220 lb-ft
x25i – 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder, 321bhp/258 lb-ft
[Source: Sky Motoring]